Interbank co-operative Swift is to conduct a proof-of-concept trial to link its gpi network to the Corda platform of enterprise blockchain consortium R3.
Swift CEO Gottfried Leibbrandt leaked the plans at the Paris Fintech Forum ahead of a formal announcement later today.
Swift has dabbled with distributed ledgers in the past, running tests of nostro reconciliations over Hyperledger for example, but has so far shied away from a whole-hearted commitment to the technology.
The gpi scheme - a set of service-level agreements between banks that promised end-to-end delivery with full tracking and transparency of messages across the network - was in part introduced as a riposte to competition from the likes of Ripple and a growing disenchantment with old-school correspondent banking models.
With Swift committed to move all of its 10,000 member banks to gpi by 2020, the PoC with Corda represents a spectacular coup for R3.
Speaking in Paris, Leibbrandt told the audience: "Our new gpi platform is extremely interoperable and open, and we’ve always had links to other networks. We are announcing later today a Proof-of-Concept with R3 blockchain on trade, where you can initiate a payment on the trade platform, and then it goes into GPI. So we’re exploring interconnectivity with a lot of things.”
Swift has now confirmed the move, providing more details on its plans. The tie-up with R3 will take place over a new gateway, dubbed gpi Link, which is intended to plug third party e-commerce and trade plaforms directly into gpi.
In the PoC with R3, corporates using Corda will be able to authorise payments from their banks via gpi Link; gpi payments will be settled by the corporates’ banks, and the resulting credit confirmations will be reported back to the trade platforms via gpi Link on completion.
David Rutter, CEO of R3, says: “Following the recent launch of our Corda Settler, allowing for the payment of obligations raised on the Corda platform, it was a logical extension to plug into swift gpi. Swift gpi has rapidly become the new standard to settle payments right across the world. All the blockchain applications running on Corda will thus benefit from the fast, secure and transparent settlement provided through the Swift gpi banks.”
Luc Meurant, SWIFT’s Chief Marketing Officer, adds: “While DLT-enabled trade is taking off, there is still little appetite for settlement in crypto-currencies and a pressing need for fast and safe settlement in fiat currencies. With gpi Link, banks will be able to provide rapid, transparent settlement services to e-commerce and trading platforms, opening up whole new ecosystems to the speed, security, ubiquity and transparency of gpi and enabling them to grow and prosper in the new digital economy. Given the adoption of the Corda platform by trade ecosystems, it was a natural choice to run this proof of concept with R3.”